Michel Petrucciani was born in Orange, France, on the 28th December, 1962. His father, Antoine (Tony), was a musician, and his mother, Anne (Anna) Vivienne, was a reticent figure, quietly dedicated to domestic duty. Unlike his two older brothers, Michel was not allowed the freedom normally permitted young boys. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as ‘brittle bone disease’, Tony was adamant Michel grow up isolated within the walls of the family home. The house was a hub of music and musicians, but, hidden away in his bedroom, Michel grew up hearing music second-hand through the floorboards and from behind the door. He was utterly absorbed by all he heard and, at just four years old, he used two drumsticks to demonstrate to his father that he could play all he had secretly listened to.
Though Tony’s restriction of Michel’s interaction with his peers and adults was somewhat harsh, he can certainly be credited with cultivating his son’s determination to succeed as a musician. Speaking in praise of his rigid upbringing, Michel later said he was “grateful…that he was so severe and demanding with me. He taught me everything. With him I discovered all the great jazzmen, I learnt how to feel and live the music intensely and that being artist is a real job that demand a lot of work and energy….If I got where I am it is because I always wanted to do what my father expected of me.”